Saturday, January 29, 2011

Famosa Latino Cuisine

Today Bob and I met Jenny for lunch at Famosa restaurant in Hilliard. She had told us about it, and that we had to try it. So we did just that.

Famosa Latino Cuisine offers an incredibly diverse menu. They claim to serve “Mexicana, Guatemalteca, Salvadorena, Peruana, Venezolana, Columbiana, Cubana, Puerto Riquena, Dominicana and Argentina” foods. Oh, you can get a taco or an enchilada here, but why would you want to? The menu is so extensive that it is almost overwhelming! Go for something new and different. That’s what I did. I asked our server Daniel, what he would recommend. He actually ended up helping both Jenny and me decide on what to order.

But first we began with an appetizer to share. Jenny chose the “El Caribeno/Picadera Mix”. Wow. This appetizer was huge! I would love to show you a picture of it, however we dug into it before the camera was out of the case. Uh oh. This will not be allowed to happen again! Let me tell you about it anyway. It had longaniza (sausage) very good, Dominican salami that was just incredible, Dominican fried cheese that was insanely delicious, chicken wings that were yummy, pork that had such good flavor and tostones (fried plantains) and lettuce, avocado and sour cream. No way could we eat all of this and our dinners, too. But we sure gave it one heck of a try!

Then the dinners came rolling in … on platters! Correction: these were feasts!
On Daniel’s recommendation I chose “Bandeja Paisa, a Columbian dish. It was awesome! There was a fried ripe plantain (heaven), a Dominican sausage that surprised & delighted me, a piece of deeply flavored steak, fried pork and white rice with an egg on top. Oh! There was a cup of Columbian beans, too. What a feast! Every single thing on that plate was delicious! Even the two avocado slices that garnished the plate!
Bob had zeroed in on what he wanted way before Jenny or I had even come close. He went with “Costilla de Res al Carbon”. Of course he did! Why not with a description like this? “Ribs rubbed with our Famosa salsa and seasonings, served with fries and green salad.” He did change the fries for beans and rice.
Jenny had Mofongo de Carne. This was a dish of mashed green plantains stuffed with beef and served with lettuce and tomatoes. It was uniquely served in a big goblet. It looked totally cool. And the flavor was delicious. The mofongo also can be ordered with chicken, chicharron (I honestly have no idea what that is), shrimp or the above mentioned beef.

Of course the three of us traded dishes and tasted everything on the table. It was all so incredibly delicious. I’m thinking that my dinner was the best, but then I think about those ribs on Bob’s plate. Hmm. This may require more research on my part.

But wait! There’s more!

Even after all the proclamations of how stuffed we were, we requested the dessert menu. We were thinking we would get one dessert and three spoons. HA! Who do we think we were kidding? Here’s how it went down …
I went super traditional with flan. And I was not disappointed. This was flan as flan should be. Creamy, caramely (is that a word), and just like silk. We all agreed with a collective sigh.
Bob wisely chose the “Churros con Helado”; caramel filled churros with ice cream. OMG! And that’s all I’m going to say about that!
Jenny went way out of her comfort zone and got “Torta Imperial”; classic Guatemalan sweet bread, served with strawberries. So, so good. And so pretty!

All of the desserts were delicious. That being said, hands down we chose the churros as the best. Those things were crazy good. I think the term Bob used for Jenny and me was something like “sharks circling the waters” as we hovered over his plate with our forks. Like it or not he was sharing!

Famosa Latino Cuisine is definitely a place to check out. They have live music and DJ on Saturdays. They have dance weekends, do catering & buffets and rent space for events.

I hope this entices you to give them a try! I think next time I go back I’ll start with the churros and work my way backwards!!!

Famosa Latino Cuisine
5445 Roberts Road
Hilliard, Ohio 43026
Ph# 614-767-5445
Fax: 614-767-5446

Famosa Latin Cuisine

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I’m late. I’m often late. It is a trait that I find most annoying. It makes me anxious and irritated. Nevertheless, I’m late.

Monday, January 24, 2011 was the second birthday of this blog. I am just amazed how the time has passed. Lately I haven’t posted as consistently as I’d like, but sometimes life takes a turn you don’t expect. And also I had a birthday, and that requires at least a week of celebration.

I think I’ve mentioned that I have several soup recipes that I have been wanting to try; so on Sunday I picked the one I’ve wanted to make the most. Chicken and Gnocchi Soup. Doesn’t that just sound delicious? Oh how I hoped this was going to turn out. It smelled really good as I was making it. It came together so easy. But you know how sometimes just those very things turn out to be a bust.

This soup ROCKS!!! I totally mean it! I can’t get enough of it!!! I was hoping it would be somewhat similar to the chicken gnocchi soup at Olive Garden. Well forget that! I found the recipe on “My Boyfriend Dated a Chef” blog, and Karalee says it’s on par with the Olive Garden. I have to disagree! It is way, way better!

It is so simple to make, and so good that I’m pretty sure it will become one of your favorites, too.

I adapted the recipe just a bit for ease, and ingredients on hand. I skipped the first step of the instructions because I had some rotisserie chicken. I chopped that up and was on my way!

First cook the gnocchi according to package directions. Gnocchi are usually found in the pasta aisle and are vacuum packed. They are pillows of potato pasta perfection! (Kathy and I made them from scratch for Donald's birthday, but that's another post.) When cooked, I rinsed them in cool water so they wouldn't stick.

While my gnocchi were cooking, I was chopping away.  I shredded carrots, minced garlic,chopped shallots (my substitute for the onion) and celery, and rough cut a bunch of spinach. Now on to making soup!

You know it's going to be good when you start with a hunk of butter.

And what could possibly smell better than onions and garlic sautéing  in butter?

When my onions and garlic were soft and translucent, I added the flour. And what do you get? ...

... a ROUX!!! Oh this is so much fun! I just love to make soups :)

It was time to add the half and half, skim milk and vegetables. Then the chicken went in. When that began to thicken, the chicken broth was added. After that starts to thicken a second time, add the gnocchi and spinach! This is so exciting! It looks and smells out of this world!

The finishing touch is a tablespoon of olive oil and fresh parsley and thyme. Serve it with grated parmesean cheese.
Thank you Karalee, for this yummy ladle of sunshine to our dreary winter days!

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup
Recipe from
Serves 8-10.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 cup chicken breast
1 lb. potato gnocchi
1 cup onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 Tbs. butter
4 Tbs. flour
2 cups half and half
2 cups skim milk
1 cup carrots, finely shredded
1/2 cup celery, finely diced
1 14 ounce can low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. parsley
Grated Parmesan cheese


In a small nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high. Cook the chicken, until browned and cooked through. Transfer chicken to a plate. Set aside.

Cook gnocchi according to package directions.

In a large nonstick saucepan, sauté the onion and garlic in butter over medium-high. When the onion becomes translucent, add the flour. Allow to cook for 1 minute.

Add half and half, skim milk, carrots, celery, and chicken. Once the soup starts to thicken, add the chicken broth. Once the soup thickens again, add the cooked gnocchi, spinach, 1 tablespoon olive oil, thyme and parsley. Allow to simmer for 4-5 minutes.

Serve immediately with grated Parmesan cheese.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Smoked Sausage and Garlic Bread Appetizer

I have a great appetizer for you! If you like sausage baby, stick with me! I found this recipe labeled as an appetizer, but I have to tell you that along with a bowl of soup we made this dinner! The key is to get really good smoked sausage. I actually went to Thurn's to get some, and I kid you not it made my knees week. It was that good!

This recipe can't be any easier. As mentioned above, you need really good smoked sausage, Italian bread (I used roasted garlic bread because I love it!), garlic, olive oil, kosher salt and chopped parsley (which you can see I forgot). Oh, and maybe I used just a tad more garlic ...

Heat up your oven and follow the recipe directions and you will be astounded with the deliciousness of this little treat. I served it with several kinds of mustard and that was fun. I was a huge fan of the Champagne Shallot Mustard. But honestly, this stuff stands alone just fine.

Smoked Sausage and Garlic Bread Appetizer
Adapted from Paula Deen

Serves: 6
Cook Time: 15 Minutes

• 1 lb. really good Smoked Sausage
• 3/4 loaf of Italian bread
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 6 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 pinches kosher salt
• 4 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the sausage into 1/2" slices and cut the bread (keeping the crusts on) into 1/2" cubes. Line a sheet tray with foil. Place sausage and bread on tray. Coat with olive oil and toss in garlic and salt. Spread out on sheet tray and toast in oven for 10-15 minutes until bread browns. You will need to stir a couple of times during bake time for thorough baking. Remove from oven and toss in fresh parsley. Serve warm with toothpicks so your guests can spear a piece of sausage and bread in each bite.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thai Chicken and Coconut Soup with Noodles

On a blustery, cold winter day what could taste better than soup? Well, yeah there is lobster. But I’m talking reasonable here. Yeah, there’s chocolate. But that’s dessert. Work with me here! Think dinner. When it's cold outside I usually think soup.

And now I’m in the soup making mood. So I’ve had a few recipes that I’ve been waiting to make when the cold weather arrives. And it has arrived!

Thai Chicken and Coconut Soup with Noodles turned out to be a delicious surprise! The recipe comes from Food and Wine. It captured my imagination when I saw it. First of all, I truly like Thai food. And the ingredients just sounded so refreshing that I knew I had to try it.

Cast of Characters-most of them anyway. And ignore the box of Mike ‘n Ikes … uh, I think those must have been Bob’s?

The recipe calls for cooking oil. I decided to use coconut oil in keeping with the theme. I’m not sure how much difference if any it made, but it worked for me. I sautéed the onion until translucent and then added the garlic, coriander, ginger, black pepper and cayenne. After cooking that for about 30 seconds, in went the broth, coconut milk, fish sauce, salt and lime zest. Oh, and by the way I used low fat coconut milk. I brought that to a simmer and partially covered it. I let it simmer for about ten minutes while stirring it occasionally.

While the broth is simmering, cook the fettuccine in boiling water until just done. (I used wide egg noodles because wide egg noodles are what I had. Worked great!) Drain the noodles.

Add the chicken to the soup and continue to simmer a few more minutes. Take the pot off the heat and add in the noodles, lime juice, and cilantro (if using – I didn’t).

Serve the soup with a fork and spoon. And prepare yourself for such goodness you’ll wonder just how you’ve lived this long without it!

Thai Chicken and Coconut Soup with Noodles-Food & Wine

1. 1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
2. 1 small onion, chopped
3. 4 cloves garlic, minced
4. 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
5. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
6. 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
7. 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
8. 1 quart canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
9. 2 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk
10. 5 teaspoons Asian fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc mam) or soy sauce
11. 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
12. 2 3-inch-long strips lime zest
13. 1/2 pound egg fettuccine
14. 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3), cut into 14-inch slices (I used rotisserie chicken)
15. 2 tablespoons lime juice
16. 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional)


1. In a large pot, heat the cooking oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, coriander, ginger, black pepper, and cayenne; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

2. Add the broth, coconut milk, fish sauce, salt, and lime zest. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the fettuccine until just done, about 12 minutes. Drain.

4. Add the chicken to the soup and simmer until just done, about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the fettuccine, lime juice, and cilantro, if using. Serve the soup in bowls with a fork and spoon.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Roasted Vegetables

I know I’ve recently written about the wonders of roasted cauliflower. I’m a convert for sure. So after admitting that I might possibly have been “wr-r-r, ahem, wr-r-r, uh … a little bit not right about certain vegetables, I decided to take a giant leap of faith. I became a vegetable roasting fool.

I gathered a whole lot of different vegetables and set out to roast and test them. Gee, that makes it sound like I put my galoshes on and went out into the fields to harvest them. The reality is that I just drove to the grocery store and got a nice selection of vegetables to try. I wanted to see which veggies would fare the best.

I cleaned them all up and tossed them with a little olive oil, added halved cloves of garlic and sprinkled chopped bacon on top (because what doesn’t taste good with bacon sprinkled on it, I ask?) and roasted them till they were soft and golden brown on the edges.

Aren’t these absolutely gorgeous? They are a thing of beauty. And I am here to tell you that I am now eating vegetables that I never would have before. I roasted cauliflower (big surprise there!), regular brussel sprouts, broccolini, fennel, butternut squash, baby brussel sprouts, and red beets. All received equal treatment, except that the beets, broccolini, and fennel did not have the bacon.

The cauliflower goes without saying, was delicious. Both the regular brussel sprouts and baby brussel sprouts turned out really good. Bob and I were astounded at how good they turned out. We were actually still smiling after eating them! The butternut squash was heaven and I will admit that the beets weren’t bad, either. I would definitely make any of those again, and again, and again.

And as for the “not-so-good” corner? The broccolini was just too fragile to be roasted. The fronds were pretty much totally dried out and crunchy, and not crunchy in a good way. The stems weren’t as bad as the fronds, but not by much. The fennel didn’t fare much better. I found that it lost a lot of its flavor. It even lost its color. At least the broccolini still looked kind of pretty. I wasn’t impressed at all. I’ve heard several chefs on the Food Network say how wonderful roasted fennel is. I just don’t see it.

So there you have it! My very informal exercise in finding some veggies that are good for roasting. I’m sure that there are some other good ones. If you have any ideas just let me know. I really am loving these veggies! Who knew?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Retro Dinner

Okay, how delicious do these look? I know! I saw a picture of them that Laura had put on Facebook. Ever since then I could not get the darn things out of my mind! They're certainly not pretty, but boy are they good! I just bet you've forgotten how good they really are. I was possessed. I would simply not rest until I made them.

Bob made a shopping run for me and he came home with these great Angus dogs, four in a package. Perfect! I just happened to have a roll of 4 crescents in the fridge. And here's the funny thing; I rarely buy crescent rolls. Not because I don't like them, but because they usually end up on my thighs! But for the holidays I thought I might need them.

I took a dog, made a slit almost but not through, and stuffed it with shredded cheddar cheese. I started with the wide end of the crescent dough and wound it around the dog. Put those puppies into a 375 degree oven and cooked them for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, I thought "why not go all retro?". I took out those leftover mashed potatoes and made four perfectly crusted potato cakes. Next I opened up a can of green beans, tossed in a few cloves of roasted garlic, and a smidgen of bacon grease and cooked those up.
Now just look at that. Doesn't that look like something Mom would put on the table? (That is if your folks were Ward and June Cleaver.)

Bob and I got a big kick out of our dinner. And, I might add that my dear husband ate two pigs! A little ketchup on the potato cakes and we were good to go!

Did I mention there were cookies and milk for dessert?